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Iran Press TV

Russia transferred weaponry to Ukraine during Minsk talks: Kiev

Iran Press TV

Thu Feb 12, 2015 1:37PM

The government in Kiev says Russia has transferred heavy weaponry, including 50 tanks, to Ukraine's east while peace talks were underway in the Belarusian capital, Minsk.

"Around 50 tanks, 40 multiple launch rocket systems and a similar number of armored vehicles crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border at Izvarin [in the self-proclaimed republic of Lugansk]," said Andriy Lysenko, Ukraine's military spokesman, in the Ukrainian capital on Thursday.

Four-party negotiations in Minsk ended when a pact was sealed calling for the warring sides to pull out heavy weaponry from the restive eastern region in two weeks.

East Ukraine ceasefire deal

Russia's President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko were in the Belarusian capital for marathon talks over a ceasefire deal.

Reports say the negotiating sides agreed on the withdrawal of heavy weapons from Ukraine's frontlines and a ceasefire to begin from February 15.

Back in September 2014, representatives of Ukraine, Russia, and the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk signed another ceasefire deal in the same city. However, the truce was violated on an almost daily basis by both the Ukrainian military and pro-Russia forces and thus failed to deliver any practical result.

Source of conflict

Donetsk and Lugansk are two mainly Russian-speaking regions in eastern Ukraine, which have been convulsed by deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations in April last year to crush the pro-Russians.

In May 2014, the situation in the two flashpoint regions started to worsen as residents voted in local referendums overwhelmingly supporting independence from Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation.

The fighting has taken a heavy toll on thousands of people. More than 5,500 people have died and some 12,200 wounded in the conflict, the UN says. Around 1.5 million people have been also forced from their homes over the past months of turmoil.

FNR/HSN/SS



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